Since 1896 there has been a permanent circus building on Kaiser-Wilhem-Platz / Königstraße (today Universitätsplatz) in Magdeburg, in which a provisional cinema was built in 1907 by a master stonemason Joh. Fr. Meyer on behalf of a “Lichtspieltheater-Aktien-Gesellschaft”. the “Varieté-Theater” with cinematograph theater, as it is called in 1909/1910. It can be used when there are no circus performances. For this purpose, half of the auditorium is divided and the arena covered with a wooden floor.
The Blumenfeld brothers also made frequent guest appearances in the Magdeburg circus building, in 1904, 1911 and 1913, and the desire arose to acquire this building. A permanent location a little further west than Guhrau could be very useful for Circus Blumenfeld, especially since such a large area as in Magdeburg. Ulrich Blumenfeld was almost 12 years old when his father and his brothers leased the Magdeburg circus grounds for 30 years on April 1, 1914 and bought the Cicus building. It is an expensive and important project that the Blumenfeld brothers are getting into with their first performance on March 14th. Tragically, just a few months later, the outbreak of World War I is already at great risk. Artists and horses are being drafted, and the circus has practically had to stop working. In the war years there were only a few own performances and instead frequent renting of the premises to other circuses or for large events.
Gisela and Dietmar Winkler write in their book’Die Blumenfelds. Schicksale einer jüdischen Zirkusfamilie‘: “By dissolving their own company, the Blumenfeld brothers had only become landlords and were looking for new business areas that they found in the cinema after corresponding conversions had already been made. In later documents, both Hermann Blumenfeld and his son Ulrich are listed as cinema owners. The cinema was called in 1920 ‘Zirkus-Lichtspiele’ and in 1925 it was only referred to as ‘Circus’ in an advertisement under the heading ‘Magdeburger Lichtspiele’. If you can follow a message in the ‘Artist’, the cinema now dominated: ‘In the Gebr. Blumenfeld’s circus building on Königstrasse there have been light shows for a long time, which are only interrupted by circus guest performances.’
Some members of the family lived in houses near to the circus building. In front of on of those houses one can nowadays find several so-called ‘Stolpersteine’ with the names of several members of the Blumenfeld family who were all killed by the Nazi’s during the Second World War. During that war the heavy bombing of Magdeburg in the night of the 16th of January 1945 hit the circus building and damage it so badly that is never rebuild.
The Blumenfeld Family had a heritage of 117 years of circus in their DNA. It was brutally put to an end and wiped out in just twelve years of National Socialism.
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